Minimal inhaled sedation is also called nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” sedation. This method of sedation uses a nose mask and a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide to make you feel more calm and comfortable during your appointment. No pills or needles are required, and it has minimal side effects, so you can get back to your day-to-day routine immediately after treatment.
Up to 20% of Americans report suffering from dental anxiety.
First, you’ll need a quick health screening to discuss your health, medications you’re taking, and your history of health issues to ensure you’re a good candidate for minimal inhaled sedation.
Right before your dental treatment starts, Dr. Mark Evans will put a nose mask over your nose, and you’ll breathe in through your nose whenever you’re directed to do so during your treatment.
As soon as you inhale the gas, you’ll feel more relaxed, calm, and comfortable, and Dr. Evans will begin your dental treatment.
Once your procedure is over, oxygen will be pumped through the nose mask for a few minutes, and you’ll breathe it in to flush away the nitrous oxide from your lungs.
Yes. Minimal inhaled sedation with laughing gas is very effective at helping mitigate the effects of dental anxiety. This is because nitrous oxide acts on receptors in your brain to release calming chemicals like dopamine.
When you are sedated with nitrous oxide, you’ll feel more calm, comfortable, and relaxed, even if you have dental anxiety. You may even find some things that are happening around you to be very funny or strange, hence the term “laughing gas.”
Nitrous oxide also helps suppress sensations of pain and discomfort, and it can even help with things like fear of needles or a very strong gag reflex. For all of these reasons, nitrous oxide sedation is an excellent choice if you have dental anxiety.
Minimal inhaled sedation doesn’t have very serious side effects or after-effects. Usually, the side effects of this type of sedation wear off within about 5 minutes after the flow of nitrous oxide stops. This means that you can drive yourself back home or even go back to work after treatment, unlike with IV sedation and pill-based forms of sedation. It may take 4-6 hours or longer for the effects of these deeper types of sedation to wear off.
Common side effects after minimal inhaled sedation include dizziness, confusion, feelings of sluggishness, and slight feelings of nausea. You may also feel a bit disoriented or irritable. Less commonly, you may experience headaches, excessing sweating and/or shivering, or serious nausea that leads to vomiting.